Update – Medicine, 2015

UK Medical Schools and the Medicine Selection Process – Simon Fitch, St Georg’es, University of London. Kim Piper, Head of Admisssions, Queen Mary.

  • 36 med schools. Buckingham has opened med school. Higher than it has been.

  • Grad entry also.

  • 15Th Oct deadline not applicable to Buckingham.

  • A100 not the only Medical code.

  • 7.5% international student cap. (Non-EU). Being reviewed. Buckingham doesn’t have that cap. 5 or 6 years long. Programmes differ. 1St couple of years – classroom-based. Also some clinical experience. 3Rd year at St George’s – 50% clinical experience. Plus inter-collated year – Bsc available. 2 qualifications obtained, thus allowing recognition in countries which demand a degree. Last 2 years largely clinical – prep for UK foundation year (F1 & F2) – can go out of the UK for that period. C240 places available at say Queen Mary or St George’s – Home-EU. Total apps 2.6-7k, rejected prior to interview 1.65k, interviewed 900 to 1k.

Differences – GCSE scoring. St George’s won’t demand IGCSEs – look at overall profile. Queen Mary will take the same approach. Medical schools vary in their view of non-academic record (24 out of 36). UKCAT 25 schools, BMAT 17. St Georg’es – strong grades in Bio, Chem, Maths and English (2nde), UKCAT min 500 in each section plus overall cut off. IB 666 at HL, 666 at SL. Bio and Chem – at least one to HL. At Queen Mary – Chem and Bio top grades in 1ère. Moving to Chem OR Bio. 38 points overall. IB have an advantage because score more tariff points (will come down 2017). Question if you think mistakes have been made.

Profile – bright, mature, organised, empathic. Good communicators. PS – team work!! Extra-curricular should show the necessary medical schools.

Work experience doesn’t have to be weeks and weeks in a hospital. Just to test out if you are truly cut out for this – no work-life balance, so has to be something you want. Volunteering, shadowing. Why medicine not science, for example? Some kids get to clinical and think it’s not for them.

Key dates for UKCAT – sit in summer of 1ère. Online practice. No evidence that prep works. Register by 22nd September. Testing begins October. You get the score on the day. If you get the score and it isn’t enough, don’t apply to a UKCAT school!

BMAT gives online practice. BUT you sit it in November, AFTER 15th October so if you have a disaster, you’re finished! Can’t change application. Maybe do a mix of BMAT and UKCAT. 26 unis, Pearson, computer-based. Plan where and when you’ll take it.

UKCAT – various types of reasoning. Each element scored 300-900. BMAT pen and paper. Scoring 1-9 for the sections.

UCL use BMAT more “empathically”.Photocopy BMAT answers.

Interview approaches – semi-structured, multi mini interview and another…

Same questions to all candidates, blind scored. Scoring criteria, trained interviewers.

Prio to interview, they get a scenario – discussion topic in interview.

Multi mini interview – “speed dating” as candidates move around a number of stations completing different activities. Same experience for every candidate. Each activity scored independently by different assessor. International experience seems to help quality of performance here.

Academic ability, empathy, initiative and resilience, communication skills, organisation, team work, insight and integrity.

MMI sample questions.

Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry. Taste of Medicine – www.tasteofmedicine.com.


French Bac Bio and Chemistry? Level not high enough for St George’s or Queen Mary. (Answer to my question).

St George’s International Foundation Year – not IB re-takers. Brighton and Sussex, Kings e.g. will take their foundation students (but no guarantee).

See –


Other links on the presentation, final slide.

Options if you fail UK –

  • Slovenia

  • Italy

  • Latvia

  • Ireland (v expensive – College of Surgeons, Trinity and University, Dublin)

A colleague’s notes –

  • UK Medical Schools and the Medicine Selection Process get PPT from Simon!
  • 36 medical schools in the UK awarding Primary Medical Qualifications – rich history but limited seats for intl students (obvi)
  • Number of uni’s with med prgms is growing, including Buckingham recently
  • Diversity of curricula/options: traditional vs problem-solving, undergraduate vs graduate, 4/5/6 year options, and different degrees (MBBS, MBCHB, etc)
  • Oct. 15th deadline is flexible at some places check!
  • 7.5% quota is being reviewed uni’s get govt. money from govt according to enrolment
  • Medical programmes generally look like this:
    • Year 1 & 2: classroom based + limited clinical practice & community visits, case-based learning
    • Year 3: Clinical Transition Year (problem-based learning & clinical rotations)
    • Year 4: advanced biomedical study & independent research
    • Year 5 & 6: largely clinically-oriented, revision, exams, teaching session
    • Results in foundation/residency
  • Most uni’s have about 25 places for 1st year students…
  • Most Russell Group uni’s don’t accept EU applicants without IB (though they can’t say that!)
  • Academic selection process (things to consider):
    • Chem & bio not always required
    • (I)GCSE scoring – best of 6/8/9?
    • IB – check the minimum vs. tariff
    • Tariff points could be increased with Extended Paper Qualification (EPQ) – non-IB
  • Other admission criteria:
    • PS is “scored” by 70% of institutions
    • Tests: UKCAT (25) or BMAT (7)
      • Each uni uses the tests differently: some for an initial sifting, some for a cutoff, etc
      • Some uni’s that hadn’t used them WILL be doing so in the future, e.g. Birmingham
      • 1 uni has their own selection test (Buckingham)
      • Only 1 sitting of each test per application year
    • UKCAT testing: July 1 – Oct 6; release results: day of testing
    • BMAT testing: Nov. 4; release results: Nov. 24
    • Interview (all)
  • UKCAT tests…
    • verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, abstract reasoning, decision analysis, situational judgment
    • Each section worth 900 points
    • All online in test-centers
  • BMAT is pen & paper test, each section worth 9 points
  • Interviews are typically done in 1 of 2 ways,
    • Semi-structured process, students sent info/article beforehand, student must research it and consider ethics
    • Multi-mini interviews are increasingly-common; basically “speed-dating” as candidates move around stations, same for every candidate
    • Trained interviewers
  • Personality criteria: bright, good communicators, empathetic, honest
  • PS criteria:
    • Explain any contradictions (if applicable)
    • Emphasize work experience!
    • Focus in on teamwork & communication
    • Used for interview content
    • DON’T start your PS with a family story/inspiration!
  • Situated Judgment Test (SJT) may be used more/again in the future (currently being re-piloted)
  • Work experience:
    • Not looking for a set number of hours or a set experience
    • Consider hospices in addition to clinics, job shadows, etc
    • Experience in varied countries/cultures are encouraged/welcome to improve candidates’ range in interview
  • Additional Resources: